- Parliament votes on four bills required to implement GST
- BJP opposed GST or national sales tax for years, says Congress
- GST with 4 tax slabs is baby steps, not game-changer, says Congress
The GST replaces an unwieldy slew of tariffs with one national tax, which will be applied in four slabs ranging from five to 28 per cent. The government, which missed a planned April 1 rollout because of opposition, wants to ensure GST is introduced at the start of July. Last year, in a major victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, parliament approved the GST. Today, the four bills that will put it into action were debated and passed by the Lok Sabha, where the government has a big majority.
Criticising various provisions in the GST plan, Mr Moily said it will be a "technological nightmare." His party has repeatedly pointed out that while the UPA coalition it led was in power, the PM, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had opposed the reform.
"Seven to eight years have passed after the erstwhile UPA government wanted to bring the GST bill. Some parties then felt it should be halted due to reasons best known to them," said Mr Moily. The former Law Minister said the delay cost the country Rs 1.5 lakh crore annually and put the total loss at Rs 12 lakh crore.
The Congress is opposed to the four tax slabs, stating that a range of rates defies the purpose of one common tax. The slabs start at five percent and end at 28 per cent, with 12 per cent and 18 per cent as standard rates. The new tax also includes a separate central "cess" that will be levied on tobacco products, luxury cars and aerated drinks, charged on top of the 28 per cent tax bracket.
"The one nation, one tax concept is only a myth. There are too many rates, cesses," said Mr Moily.
"The real estate sector generates lot of black money. It is very unfortunate that the sector was not brought under the ambit of GST," he added.
In addition to the four bills that have been passed by parliament, another one will have to be cleared by each state assembly to turn India into one unified market.